Zainul Abedin’s 105th birth anniversary today

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Dec 29,2019 | Updated: 22:03, Dec 28,2019


Zainul Abedin

Today is the 105th birth anniversary of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, best known for his sketches of Bengal famine in 1943. He also spearheaded establishment of fine arts faculty of Dhaka University.

Different art institutes and organisations will observe the day organising different programmes.

They will pay tribute to the master artist by placing floral wreaths on his grave on Dhaka University campus in the morning.

A three-day Zainul Festival will be held from December 29- 31 at fine arts faculty of Dhaka University. It will feature display of artworks by artists from across the country, along with works by students and teachers of fine arts faculty. The festival will also feature cultural shows, seminar and others.

Education minister Dipu Moni is scheduled to attend the inaugural ceremony of the festival as the chief guest today.

A newly designed building named Zainul Shishukala Niketan will be inaugurated and fine arts faculty will confer Zainul Award today.

‘Indian artist Janak Jhankar Narzary and noted local artists Professor Mahmudul Haque and Hamiduzzaman Khan will receive the Zainul Award,’ informed Nisar Hossain, dean of fine arts faculty.

Zainul Abedin, born on December 29, 1914 in Kishoreganj, developed passion for fine arts in his early teens.

He enrolled at Kolkata Government Art School in 1932 and completed with distinction. The artist, however, had to leave Kolkata just after the partition in 1947.

In the next year, Zainul pioneered establishment of an art institute in Dhaka, which was named Dhaka Art Institute.

He became the principal of the institute at the beginning of 1949. The institute, now the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University, became the hub of fine arts practices in the then East Pakistan.

Zainul took care to juxtapose the traditional ways and styles of fine arts and western ones in the institute. He was always keen to patronise traditional crafts and paintings at every festival the institute held.

He also collected large number of traditional crafts, ceramic works, nakshi kanthas and preserved them.

In 1959, Zainul was conferred with Hilal-E-Imtiaz, the highest government accord, by the then Pakistan government. Among many other major achievements, Zainul worked as an instrumental figure in setting up fine arts department at Peshawar University in the then West Pakistan.

He willingly went on retirement from the Dhaka Art Institute in 1967 and was conferred the honorary title of Shilpacharya (great master of fine arts) by the institute.

In 1970, Zainul painted a 65 feet narrative scroll titled Nobanna depicting the rural Bengal and another 29 feet scroll titled Monpura portraying the effect of the devastating cyclone that hit the coastal areas of the country.

In 1971, Zainul formed Charu O Karu Shilpi Sangram Parishad and also repudiated Hilal-E-Imtiaz. In 1973, Zainul received an honorary D.Litt from Delhi University. He was declared national professor in 1975.

He founded the Folk Art Museum at Sonargaon in Narayanganj, and Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala, a gallery of his own works, in Mymensingh in 1975.

The versatile artist died on May 28, 1976 after suffering from lung cancer for few years.

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